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TravelMarriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card review: Full details

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card review: Full details

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express Card® overview

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is Marriott’s most premium card offering. Standout benefits include automatic Platinum Elite status, an annual free night at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program and up to $25 in statement credits each month when you use your card at eligible restaurants worldwide. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

Marriott has six cobranded cards available to new cardholders, with fees ranging from none to $650 annually.

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is the most expensive, at $650 a year (see rates and fees). But does that necessarily mean it’s the best?

If you’re a loyal Marriott guest, the Bonvoy Brilliant has many features that make it compelling. Note that you’ll need a credit score of 670 or higher for the best chance at approval.

Let’s dig deeper into the card’s details to help you determine if it’s right for you.

Related: Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card is right for you?

Bonvoy Brilliant Amex pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • Statement credit for restaurant purchases
  • Annual free night award
  • Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required)
  • Platinum Elite status
  • Hefty annual fee
  • May not make sense if you don’t stay at Marriott properties

Bonvoy Brilliant Amex welcome offer

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex is currently offering new cardholders 185,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $6,000 in purchases on the card in their first six months of account opening. Offer ends May 1.

Based on TPG’s valuations of Marriott points at 0.84 cents each, those 185,000 points are worth $1,554, nearly matching the highest offer we’ve seen on this card.

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Remember that Amex has restrictions limiting your ability to collect a new member bonus if you’ve had similar Marriott products from Chase or previous Starwood Preferred Guest cards from American Express. Be sure to review the card’s offer details page to ensure you’re eligible.

Related: Is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex worth the $650 annual fee?

Bonvoy Brilliant Amex benefits

Where the Bonvoy Brilliant Amex shines the most is in the perks it offers. These include:

  • Marriott Platinum Elite status: Primary cardholders receive complimentary automatic Marriott Platinum Elite status, which includes perks like upgrades to suites, complimentary breakfast and lounge access. On average, you will receive your upgraded status in less than two weeks. Enrollment required.
  • Annual free-night award: Each year after your card renewal month, you’ll receive a free night award at participating hotels worth up to 85,000 points. That’s much more valuable than the free night certificates with lower-tier Marriott cards, which are capped at 35,000 points. Some of the best uses of the certificate include luxury hotels such as The Ritz-Carlton Macau and The St. Regis Langkawi, where rooms routinely top $500 per night — though Marriott’s dynamic pricing may impact the ability to book some of these properties. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Up to $300 in restaurant credits: As a cardholder, you’ll receive up to $25 in statement credits each month when you use your card at eligible restaurants worldwide. This equates to a total value of up to $300 each year. (A spokesperson for American Express has confirmed that this credit applies to worldwide restaurants, is automatically applied and does not require registration prior to using this benefit.)
  • Property credit of up to $100: When you book a paid stay of at least two nights at participating Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties with the special “$100 property credit, Luxury Credit Card Rate,” you’ll receive a credit of up to $100 for incidentals.
  • Priority Pass Lounge access: As is pretty standard among premium travel rewards cards, the card comes with a Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you and two guests unlimited access to more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide. Additional guests are charged the visit fee (enrollment required). This membership does not include access to Priority Pass restaurants.
  • Travel protections: The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex offers trip cancellation and interruption insurance* and trip delay insurance* for trips delayed by more than six hours due to a covered reason. You must book a round-trip ticket and pay entirely with your card to be covered.
  • Application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: Like many other premium cards, the Bonvoy Brilliant will reimburse you when you charge the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck to the card up to $100 (up to $85 once every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck or $100 once every 4 years for Global Entry). If you already have Global Entry or PreCheck, you can use this credit to cover a friend or family member’s application fee (enrollment required for select benefits). Remember, Global Entry includes PreCheck, so it’s typically the smarter choice.
  • Shopping protections: Purchases made with the card can get up to one year of extended warranty coverage** and 90 days of purchase protection.**
  • Elite night credits: Cardholders will receive 25 elite qualifying night credits annually. This benefit can be stacked with the nights you earn with a Marriott small-business card, allowing you to fast-track up to 40 elite nights per year.
  • Annual Earned Choice Award: You’ll receive an earned choice award after making $60,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year. This is separate from the Choice Benefits you’d unlock by reaching 50 and 75 elite-qualifying nights. You can only earn one Earned Choice Award per calendar year and you can choose from the following: 5 Nightly Upgrade Awards, an 85,000-point free night reward or $1,000 off a mattress or box spring from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques.

Those who can maximize the full value of the Bonvoy Brilliant Amex’s benefits will easily justify the card’s hefty annual fee.

*Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

**Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

Read more: Is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex worth the $650 annual fee?

Earning points on the Bonvoy Brilliant Amex

Bonvoy Brilliant Amex cardholders earn 6 Bonvoy points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, 3 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines as well as 2 points per dollar on other purchases eligible purchases.


The non-Marriott earning rates are a bit low, so you’ll probably want to pair the card with one or more other cards that offer superior bonus categories, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express for airfare and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for dining and other travel purchases. There are also some other great options for your everyday spending that would make a solid pairing with the Bonvoy Brilliant.

Related: The best credit card pairings

Redeeming points on the Bonvoy Brilliant Amex

The most obvious and valuable way to redeem the Marriott Rewards points you’ll earn on the Bonvoy Brilliant Amex is for stays at Bonvoy properties. With the ability to book more than 7,500 properties across 30 brands in over 130 countries, you’ve got a lot of choices. The Marriott Bonvoy portfolio has many fantastic hotels, including some of the world’s most luxurious properties.


These include a number of Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis properties, some of which are all-suite, such as the St. Regis Maldives, and others in dreamy destinations like the Al Maha Resort in the desert outside Dubai. Rooms at top-tier properties like these typically cost 100,000 points (or even more) per night. That may seem like a hefty price in points, but it isn’t a bad value considering that these room rates can be $1,500-plus per night most of the year.

TPG credit cards writer Chris Nelson received outstanding value by redeeming 4 nights at the JW Marriott Sao Paulo during peak season for 120,000 points.

Related: Maximizing redemptions with the Marriott Bonvoy program

Transferring points on the Bonvoy Brilliant Amex

In addition to redeeming them for stays at Marriott Bonvoy properties, you can transfer your Bonvoy points to more than 35 airline partners. However, this rarely offers good value, so we recommend avoiding it unless you need to top off an account balance for a flight redemption or need to access an airline’s loyalty currency.

Related: How long do Marriott Bonvoy points take to transfer?

Which cards compete with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex?

If you’re not loyal to Marriott, there are a number of cards you might consider instead of the Bonvoy Brilliant Amex:

For additional options, check out our full list of the best hotel credit cards and the best Marriott credit cards.

Related: The best premium credit cards: A side-by-side comparison

The information for the Hilton Honors Aspire Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

If you’re a Marriott loyalist in need of a cobranded credit card or are looking to change from a different Marriott card, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex is an ideal choice.

Its earning rates are not as lucrative as those of some of its competitors, but the large welcome offer coupled with impressive built-in perks — like up to $300 in restaurant credits and an annual free-night certificate of up to 85,000 points — make it easy for even an infrequent traveler to get tremendous value out of the card.

Apply here: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy Amex, click here.


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